Debate over Messi's record unearths a photo and a legend
Hands up if you had heard of Godfrey Chitalu four days ago.
Godfrey Chitalu was the coach of the Zambian national team when, just before midnight on 27 April 1993, the plane carrying them to a match caught fire around half a kilometre from the coast of Gabon. The team were heading to Senegal where they were due to play a qualifier for the 1994 World Cup in the US. The pilot fought to bring the plane under control but could not do so and it crashed, killing all of the passengers. Eighteen players, five members of the Zambian Federation, five members of the crew and two coaches.
It was the great trauma of the country's footballing history. When Zambia won the African Cup of Nations in February 2012, the players returned to the beach in Gabon where the accident happened to pay homage to their predecessors who had died there almost twenty years before. Amongst them, few were more fondly remembered than Chitalu. Born in October 1947, Chitalu is considered one of the best three players in Zambia's history, if not the best. He won the country's Player of the Year award five times and in the 1967-68 season scored an incredible 81 league goals.
A photograph Chitalu in a suit and tie and matching pocket handkerchief from 1972 or early 1973, shows him smiling. In his hand, he holds a ball. On it, it says: